It's Your Right: How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in California Through The Mail ('Trial By Declaration')
By Martin Hill
LibertyFight.com
February 15, 2014


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UPDATE: On 9/25/15 I received the following e-mail from a reader:
"Hello, I just wanted to say thank you for the information on Trial by Declaration concerning traffic Violations. My case is dismissed, and I will be refunded my money. I am forever grateful. Thank you. Nena"

But this week, (10/6/15) I had another reader inform me that her request for trial by declaration at her in-person arraignment was denied!

"Hi Martin, Just got out from my arraignment and unexpectedly, my request for TBD is denied. The judge said something about I'm already at the state of the case where TBD is not allowed anymore. I'm definitely blindsided by this. Is there a way to try requesting it again?"

She then e-mailed me more info:

"Hi Martin, Thanks for feeling upset for me. I was doing more research on it and seems like there's a law that says you have to request TBD with the clerk before arraignment. If requested at arraignment, court has the right to deny it (it was said that most judge are quite lenient and let you have TBD but i guess mine was a sticker for the rules)."

California Rules of Court ~ 4.210(b) Procedure:
(3) Election
The defendant must file a Request for Trial by Written Declaration (form TR-205) with the clerk by the appearance date indicated on the Notice to Appear or the extended due date as provided in (2). The Request for Trial by Written Declaration (form TR-205) must be filed in addition to the defendant�s written request for a trial by written declaration, unless the defendant�s request was made on the election form.

I had actually included that info in the original artcle below, along with a link to the CA rules of the court. I've personally never had any judge refuse my request for a Trial by declaration at arraignment. But since we now have this reminder that the revenue-agent snakes are allowed to do that, best to request your trial by declaration with the court clerk prior to your arraignment date. Also see our article from 9/8/15:
Two More Readers Credit LibertyFight.com With Helping Them Beat Their Traffic Tickets! ($500 bucks saved!)


The revenue agents are getting pretty aggressive issuing expensive tickets, so everyone should fight them whenever possible. Contrary to popular belief, you don't always have to 'take a day off work' to fight a ticket. The California Vehicle Code outlines the rights of all motorists ticketed in CA. One good way to fight a ticket is through the mail, using a TRIAL BY DECLARATION. And if you lose, you're entitled to a whole new trial in person! It's like a free shot, with nothing to lose.

This is one of the most rudimentary steps that motorists ticketed in California can take to challenge their tickets. It is outlined in the CA Vehicle Code:
V C Section 40902 Trial by Written Declaration
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d17/vc40902.htm

I have beaten nearly fifteen tickets of all sorts since I learned how to properly challenge traffic 'revenue' tickets in 2001. I've beaten speeding tickets, 'dog off leash' ticket, cell phone ticket, a commercial logbook ticket, parking tickets, etc. It is very easy. We encourage others to do the same. We have an extensive Traffic Ticket Archive Section outlining many victories included with court documents. I should note that I have also won in California Superior Court of Appeals, without a lawyer- in 2003. I wrote my own legal briefs and had a phony speeding ticket conviction overturned by a panel of three Superior Court Appellate Judges. I came across the ruling recently in some files, and will post it next week, along with my brief which they ruled on. My friend John Shanahan has beaten five tickets through the mail using TRAIL BY DECLARTION without ever having to appear in court. John beat three seat belt tickets, one red light camera ticket, and one stop sign ticket all through the mail. His archive page with court documents is here. Recently, a Pasadena, CA newspaper ran the story of an 81 year old man who beats a red-light camera ticket, and credited LibertyFight.com with the know-how.

Sometimes I outline specific victories but neglect to explain the most basic simple things that people can do to save time and money. A niece of mine, for example, who's only 20 and had never been to court in her life, beat the first ticket she ever got and later beat two additional ones, for three tickets total- she beat a seat belt ticket, a speeding ticket, and a parking ticket. This is not brain surgery folks. Don't be a lazy slug and submit to the state. Make these rotten revenue agents work for your money.

Or be a good slave, it's up to you. To each their own, right?

In my classic 2009 article Why Everyone Should Fight Their Traffic Tickets: Every Time, which explains the event that led me to fight traffic tickets forevermore, I outline the stories of several people who have beaten tickets using TRIAL BY DECLARATION, including Sylvia Smith who beat a nearly $600 speeding ticket using the measure. She had never even heard of such a thing, and was shocked to have won, and ecstatic to have beaten it in this very simple way.


I learned almost everything I know about fighting tickets from the awesome free website HelpIgotaTicket.com. I highly recommend the site. I am not affiliated with the site. (Also, for red light camera tickets in California be sure to check out the great site HighwayRobbery.net and our Red Light Camera Section.)

I personally have never beaten a ticket using a TRIAL BY DECLARATION, but I always opt for one first. I begin by getting all the extensions as possible before my initial arraignment date. Depending on the court, this can stretch it out many many months. Then I do the TBD and when the judge rules I'm guilty, within twenty days of the ruling I mail in a demand for a TRIAL DE NOVO, which is also our right. This drags it out even further. This means an entirely new trial in person (It's not an appeal.) By the time it gets around to the actual court date, so much time has passed that prosecution witness (the revenue agent cop) rarely shows up (and even when he does, I still win.) Some Los Angeles County Courts are even giving nearly one year extensions due to furloughs and budget cuts. This can only help the traffic defendant!

As Geo McCalip at helpIGotaTicket.com explains on his excellent site, (these are excerpts)
Trial by Declaration

I would encourage everyone to fight their ticket using a trial by declaration. You can have a trial by declaration without ever going to the court, and if you lose, you are entitled to a new trial per Section 40902(d) of the California Vehicle Code. This gives you two chances to win.

What about traffic school if you lose your trial by declaration?

In theory, if you lose the trial by declaration, you get a trial de novo, meaning all things are new. The judge should not hold the trial by declaration against you. If the judge denies you traffic school because of the trial by declaration, point out that you are not there for that trial, but, per CVC 40902(d), a trial de novo. You can also point to Vehicle Code section 42005 and People v Wozniak which say you can still have traffic school even after a conviction.

In reality, the courts make more money if you go to traffic school. Odds are the judge will let you go to traffic school if there is any way he/she can.

A trial by declaration consists of the following steps:
* Plead not guilty and request a trial by declaration
* Submit your declaration
* Request a new trial (if necessary)

The court must, per Vehicle Code 40902(a), provide you the right to a trial by declaration for any alleged infraction


Submit Your Declaration

Before submitting your declaration you should read the Form TR-200, INSTRUCTIONS TO DEFENDANT: (Trial by Written Declaration).

You will then need to submit a Form TR-205, REQUEST FOR TRIAL BY WRITTEN DECLARATION.

* You do not need to say anything under "STATEMENT OF FACTS" other than, "I stand by my plea of not guilty." This is not being dishonest; you are innocent until you are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the officer fails to submit his/her paperwork, the judge will have to dismiss your case and refund your bail.

Request a New Trial

To request a trial de novo you need to submit (in person or by mail) a Form TR-220. This is available online as either a blank form or a fillable form.

The TR-220 must be received by the court within 20 days of the date the clerk mails you the decision. Once you have requested a trial de novo, you will need to prepare for your trial...


I should note that I have always requested a bail waiver prior to sending in my trial by declaration. That simply means that you can request the court issue you a bail waiver so that you don't have to pay the bail before trial. It's like an 'own recognizance'. They don't have to give it to you, but it can't hurt to ask. Following are excerpts from the CA Court rules website explaining TRIAL BY DECLARATION:

2014 California Rules of Court
Rule 4.210. Traffic court-trial by written declaration
http://www.courts.ca.gov/cms/rules/index.cfm?title=four&linkid=rule4_210

(2)Extending due date

If the clerk receives the defendant's written request for a trial by written declaration by the appearance date indicated on the Notice to Appear, the clerk must, within 15 calendar days after receiving the defendant's written request, extend the appearance date 25 calendar days and must give or mail notice to the defendant of the extended due date on the Request for Trial by Written Declaration (form TR-205) with a copy of the Instructions to Defendant (form TR-200) and any other required forms.

(3)Election

The defendant must file a Request for Trial by Written Declaration (form TR-205) with the clerk by the appearance date indicated on the Notice to Appear or the extended due date as provided in (2). The Request for Trial by Written Declaration (form TR-205) must be filed in addition to the defendant's written request for a trial by written declaration, unless the defendant's request was made on the election form.


(4)Bail

The defendant must deposit bail with the clerk by the appearance date indicated on the Notice to Appear or the extended due date as provided in (2).

(5)Instructions to arresting officer

If the clerk receives the defendant's Request for Trial by Written Declaration (form TR-205) and bail by the due date, the clerk must deliver or mail to the arresting officer's agency Notice and Instructions to Arresting Officer (form TR-210) and Officer's Declaration (form TR-235) with a copy of the Notice to Appear and a specified return date for receiving the officer's declaration. After receipt of the officer's declaration, or at the close of the officer's return date if no officer's declaration is filed, the clerk must submit the case file with all declarations and other evidence received to the court for decision.

(6)Court decision

After the court decides the case and returns the file and decision, the clerk must immediately deliver or mail the Decision and Notice of Decision (form TR-215) to the defendant and the arresting agency.

(7)Trial de novo

If the defendant files a Request for New Trial (Trial de Novo) (form TR-220) within 20 calendar days after the date of delivery or mailing of the Decision and Notice of Decision (form TR-215), the clerk must set a trial date within 45 calendar days of receipt of the defendant's written request for a new trial. The clerk must deliver or mail to the defendant and to the arresting officer's agency the Order and Notice to Defendant of New Trial (Trial de Novo) (form TR-225). If the defendant's request is not timely received, no new trial may be held and the case must be closed.

Please note that I am not a lawyer, nor would I want to be one.

"But he said: Woe to you lawyers also, because you load men with burdens which they cannot bear and you yourselves touch not the packs with one of your fingers." Luke 11:46

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Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened.com, Infowars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association, AmericanFreePress.net, RomanCatholicReport.com, WorldNetDaily, OverdriveOnline.com, Educate-Yourself.org, TexeMarrs.com, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show, Strike-The-Root.com, Pasadena Weekly, ActivistPost.com, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640, IamtheWitness.com, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense.com, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, CopBlock.org, DavidIcke.com, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer, Antiwar.com, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com and DontWakeMeUp.Org.


You may contact me here. Oppose Red Light Cameras! Traffic Cameras Archive Page

LibertyFight Archive of Filming Cops

Victory! TRAFFIC TICKET ARCHIVES TRAFFIC TICKETS:

In this classic interview, which was conducted on July 1, 2009, Martin Hill of LibertyFight.com & Christie Czajkowski Discuss Fighting Traffic Tickets, Filming Cops, & The U.S. Police State. It is a very entertaining and comprehensive program. All the vids are embedded on one page here, but here are the individual links:


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